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JazzTimes 10: Great Blue Note Tracks from the 1970s

Paying long-overdue tribute to the label’s most underappreciated era

8. Bobbi Humphrey: “Uno Esta” (from Fancy Dancer, 1975)
Like Donald Byrd, flutist Bobbi Humphrey benefited from the Mizell Brothers’ streetwise production. The brothers certainly had a gift for hook-laden melodies and enticing rhythms that withstood their convoluted soundscapes. This mid-1975 gem showcases ersatz Latin-soul jazz that alludes to hot, sticky days in New York City. After a mesmerizing intro marked by shimmying synth strings, jittery percussion, a rugged backbeat, and a gripping bassline, Humphrey’s flute melody slithers in between the syncopated rhythms before dancing over the lavish groove. Hip-hop and broken-beats giants such as Madlib and IG Culture would help make this an early 21st-century DJ culture classic.

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John Murph

John Murph is a Washington, D.C.-based music journalist and DJ. He’s written for numerous outlets that include JazzTimes, DownBeat, NPR Jazz, JazzWise, The Root, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic Monthly. He hosts a weekly radio program at Eaton Hotel DC.